Tabor College baseball team goes 3-3 in busy week of play

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Tabor College baseball team dropped both ends of a doubleheader Saturday to 20th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan from Mitchell, S.D., by scores of 6-5 and 4-1.

In the opener, Casey Hillman (0-1) allowed 10 hits and three earned runs in a complete-game loss.

Trailing 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Tabor scored four runs and had the bases loaded before making the final out.

Tabor managed seven hits in the game led by Kevin Peterson with two. The Bluejays committed three errors.

“We again had a couple of key errors that really cost us the ball game,” coach John Sparks said. “Hillman only gave up three earned runs, and it was frustrating in the sense that we were just a couple of plays away from winning that game.”

In the second game, starter Jeremy Sneed (0-2) allowed 11 hits but only four earned runs in six innings.

“Jeremy threw well,” Sparks said. “Dakota Wesleyan is a good team, though, and we just couldn’t seem to string anything together to score runs.”

Tabor was limited to six base hits, led by Hillman’s two.

“All in all it’s good to know we can play and compete with a good team like them,” Sparks said. “But we feel like we should have come out of it with at least one win.”

With losses, Tabor fell to 7-5 for the season.

Northwestern College-The Bluejays split a doubleheader at home with Northwestern College from Orange City, Iowa, Friday, losing the opener 17-10 but winning the second game, 13-3.

In the opener, starter Mike Menges (1-1) allowed seven hits and four earned runs in 41/3 innings. Tabor committed six errors.

“We’re just having trouble finding consistency defensively and that’s what has been hurting us,” Sparks said. “A college baseball team shouldn’t have six errors and a number of those were routine plays.”

The Bluejays scored four times in the bottom of the fourth to take a 6-5 lead, but Northwestern added four runs in each of the final three innings, pounding out 17 hits in the process.

“Our pitchers left the ball up a little bit and that really hurt us,” Sparks said.

Tabor had 10 hits, including two each from Casey Cooper, Kevin Peterson-one a home run-and Chance Miles while Cooper and Casey Hillman both drove home three runs.

Tabor bounced back in Game 2 behind the complete game of Cooper Garbe (2-0), who allowed six hits and two earned runs in five innings.

“Cooper threw well and kept the ball low,” Sparks said. “You have to do that when the wind is blowing out.”

Tabor left little doubt about the outcome of this game, scoring 10 runs in the first inning.

Leading Tabor’s 10-hit attack was Peterson-who hit a home run-and Tyler McKim with two hits apiece while Casey Hillman drove home three runs and Peterson, Nick Green and Tyson Bauerle each drove in two.

“That’s what we’re capable of, and I think that was probably our most complete game to date,” Sparks said. “When we put it all together, we look good. But we can really look ugly when we struggle defensively.”

With the split, Tabor’s record was 7-3 for the season.

Manhattan Christian College-The Bluejays pushed their season record to 6-2 with an easy pair of five-inning wins over outmanned Manhattan Christian Wednesday, 17-1 and 19-1.

“They’re a second-year program and we were able to jump on them early both games,” Sparks said. “We just kind of overpowered them.”

Tyler McKim (2-1) was the beneficiary of Tabor’s offensive volley in the opener. McKim tossed three innings, allowed two hits, one earned run and struck out three to capture the victory.

Brad Yoder hurled two hitless innings in relief. MCC had only two hits in the game.

Tabor’s 10-hit attack was led by Chance Miles with a 3-for-3 performance, including a double, a two-run home run (3) and four runs batted in. Casey Cooper and Kevin Peterson each stroked two hits and drove in a run.

In Game 2, Phil Unruh picked up his first win, throwing three innings of hitless ball while striking out four.

Nick Villalovos and Josh Letourneau both pitched an inning in relief as MCC managed only three hits.

The Bluejays pounded out 15 hits. Cooper had three hits and four runs batted in, Peterson three hits and four RBIs including a home run, and Tyson Bauerle had for two hits and four RBIs.

“We played pretty well, pitched pretty well and obviously hit the ball well,” Sparks said.

Coming- The Bluejays return to the diamond 2 p.m. Wednesday when they host MidAmerica Nazarene. On Saturday, Tabor travels to Manhattan for a rematch with Manhattan Christian beginning at 1 p.m.

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